Pictured: 50th Reunion attendees Donna Williams ’71 and Akiko Busch ’71. Donna visited for the naming of The Ward and Williams Center for Equity and Justice, and Akiko was the Reunion Chapel guest speaker.
During the weekend of May 20-23 more than 300 alumnae from around the globe gathered virtually for a “reimagined” Reunion 2021 to participate in more than forty activities. “The participation of so many alumnae made for a fascinating series of conversations and connections spanning generations and geography,” said Director of Alumnae Relations Marion Paterson. “Despite the challenges that the pandemic presented, we were able to offer a great variety of ways for alumnae to reconnect and celebrate with each other and the School. They joined together in record numbers.”
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Walker’s first Black graduates, Cassandra “Casey” Ward ’71 and Donna Williams ’71. A video,“Narrating Our Journey: 50 Years of Black Graduates,” was aired and included narratives from women across the decades as well as current students about their experience as Black students at Walker’s. Head of School Dr. Meera Viswanathan also lent her voice to the video with comments about the work being done at the school with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion. The day also marked the naming of The Ward and Williams Center for Equity and Justice, a new center on the second floor of Beaver Brook with a mission to serve as a hub for education, growth, and transformation on issues of injustice with an eye towards solidarity, action, and justice.
During the traditional Reunion Chapel, author Akiko Busch ’71 spoke about the power of balancing watchfulness with exposure in the time of social media. Fifty-two members of the senior class were inducted into the Alumnae Association. Trustee Shelley Marks ’81 and Alumnae Board Co-Chair Jamiah Tappin ’00 also were honored with The Margot Treman Rose ’80 Distinguished Alumnae Award, which is presented to graduates of the School who best exemplify Margot Rose’s attributes, ensuring that her work, dedication and influence will be remembered now and always. When awarded, it honors alumnae who, by their devotion and talent, elevate the work of their profession, who influence their community or who give extraordinary service to their School. Current students read the names of alumnae who passed away in the past year.
Other highlights of the weekend include a Walk and Talk video with Meera, giving alumnae a full sense of life and learning at Walker’s, as well as a Master Planning conversation with architect Maryann Thompson, a conversation between Meera and Director of the Capabilities Approach Ned Edwards, and a fascinating conversation among alumnae artists from reunion years ranging from 1951-1991 who work in a range of mediums.
“This year’s virtual reunion was filled with the excitement of welcoming back graduates from across the decades, the joy of reuniting with one another, and hope for the future of our school,” said Jamiah Tappin ’00, co-chair of the Alumnae Board. “I was lucky enough to return to campus and meet Black alumnae from across the decades as we opened the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion to celebrate a milestone of 50 years of Black students at Walkers. The success of this weekend is testament to Walker’s spirit and the legacy created for each of us.”
A small number of alumnae were permitted to come to campus following our protocols, allowing for some members of the Alumnae Board to induct the graduating seniors into the Alumnae Association, and for some of our Black alumnae interviewed for our video to be present to mark the opening of our Center for Equity and Justice. The presence of even a handful of alumnae on campus has left us more eager than ever to welcome all of you back!